As I sit here at the table on Sunday afternoon, I reflect on this past weekend with Bill “Superfoot” Wallace. I’ve been pumping this Wallace seminar up for a while and if you happen to make this past Saturday, you know why.
I’ve been super blessed to be able to train with some real legends; from Joe Lewis to Renzo Gracie to Bill Wallace, and I must say, the Superfoot seminar ranks up there in the top. His content, delivery, and fighting strategy make more sense the more you learn from him. His delivery is entertaining, active, and fresh. All this coming from a 70 year old kicker that’s probably forgotten more about fighting than you and I will ever learn.
I say all this not to make you feel like a dumbo for missing the seminar but to encourage you in the future to attend a Wallace seminar and other teacher’s seminars for that matter. One nugget of knowledge from one seminar could change the face of your martial arts journey.
You may have seen the email from Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson I received recently stating, ‘I took his Seminar in the late 70's and attribute much of my success as a Kickboxer to that experience! I still practice and believe what he taught so I know it will be a great time for all the attendees’
If you didn’t make it this past weekend, I’m gonna give you a few take aways I got from my time with the Superfoot.
1) Humor is important in life. To stay young and kick high, you’ve got to be able to laugh. Superfoot’s delivery was entertaining and brilliant. As Ron LeGrande once said, ‘You don’t have to be funny to do public speaking, but to do public speaking and get paid, you do have to be funny.’ Wallace laughed a lot during our almost four hour class and so did our participants. Through laughter you could tell some important things about the man: he loved what he was doing and he loved people.
2) Deceptive Distance Manipulation is the one key to the Wallace fighting style. As a fighter one of the hardest things to do is control distance. Mr. Lewis use to speak of three distances to control, horizontal, lateral, and verticle. With Wallace, the big problem with stopping one of his incoming kicks is the fact that you can’t tell he’s moved in range enough to kick you until it’s too late! He’s already kicked you. His jab, side kick, hook kick, and round kick are all played off this Wallace footwork that he’s mastered. The man never penetrates the pocket or stays inside, he doesn’t have to. His horizontal distance, the straight line distance from his opponent to him, is manipulated by a Wallace rhythm that is light and difficult to follow, but easy to understand. An opponent is often confused, as to whether to block an area of his body or a weapon coming in and often reacts to a Wallace fake.
3) To hit Wallace an opponent would have to somehow evade that lead leg and fire at whatever target Wallace allowed open. From the Wallace fighting stance, the only target there to fire at was the left arm and the head. The only viable option was to get to the head someway and Wallace has a way of capitalizing on your entry into his domain. He takes the head away and gives you the shoulder. Then his left hook will proceed to pound on the head and ribs until his final left hook turns him back to his sideways stance where the Wallace sidekick would crush your ribs.
Then he steps away as you fold to the floor. Wallace had 13 knockouts with a side kick to the ribs. As he said, it’s hard to fight when you can’t breathe.
4) As a coach, it’s not possible to force any particular style of fighting on a student, but it is possible to expose the student to areas of the art he or she isn’t familiar with that can broaden the thinking. Not many people can kick like Wallace, let me correct myself, no one can kick like Wallace, but we can all take something away from the Wallace strategy to improve our game. It’s not the Wallace kick that gets you, it’s the Wallace footwork, the Wallace persona, the Wallace demeanor. It’s the man who lives by a code found in the martial arts. He’s honorable and trustworthy, like any real black belt should be.
The bottom line is, it was a great seminar.
As I sat down in my office to pay him what I owed him before he and Grant took off back to Florida, I felt as though I owed him more than our originally agreed upon price. I felt indebted to the man for making the trip and sharing his knowledge. Now it’s not often that I feel that way and I’m sure you’ve not had that experience too often either. You can definitely say, I got my money’s worth and more.
If you missed this seminar with Superfoot, hopefully you can catch him soon. He’s out there somewhere in the world kicking Grant or some other fine UKE in the shoulder, chest, belly, head, and head, and head, and head…
Keep Kicking and God Bless!